Written Answers. - Genetically Modified Organisms.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

58 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he has read the Soil Association report, Seeds of Doubt, regarding the real experience of farmers in the USA disappointed by the claims of the biotech industry for GM crop growing; and his views on whether Ireland should be promoted as a GMO free food island. [19168/03]

I am aware of the report mentioned. This report adds to the volume of information in place regarding the cultivation and use of genetically modified plants and plant products.

Our approach to biotechnological development in crop production is positive but precautionary. In furtherance of this precautionary principle I am in agreement with the approach taken by the EU where it will be necessary to have comprehensive legislative protection in place for health and the environment before the widespread cultivation of GM crops within the Community can be considered. Some of this legislation is already in place with more coming on stream.
My Department is examining the practical implications of this new legislation and the need to ensure the highest standards of food safety and environmental protection in the development of our agriculture and food industry.